“How has the safety plan helped me?”

“It has saved my life
more than once.”

The Stanley-Brown Safety Planning Intervention is a brief, collaborative intervention between the clinician and the suicidal individual that aims to mitigate acute risk.

How does it work?

Simple Steps towards Safety

It all starts with a single first step.

The purpose of the Safety Planning Intervention is to provide people who have experienced a suicidal crisis with a specific set of coping strategies and resources to use in order to decrease the risk of suicidal behavior.

The Safety Planning Intervention is more than completing the Safety Plan form and actually consists of the following tasks posted on the right hand side:


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Conduct a Risk Assessment
and obtain a description of a recent suicidal crisis to identify warning signs and how risk increases and decreases over time.
Review the Suicide Risk Curve
and describe how the individual’s suicidal crisis corresponds to the risk curve.
Provide a Rationale for a Safety Plan
to identify coping strategies and resources before a crisis to better manage the future crisis and allow time to pass without engaging suicidal behavior.
Describe the Development of a Safety Plan
as a collaborative process between the clinician and the individual.
Complete the steps of the Safety Plan.*
Explain How To Use the Safety Plan
once it has been developed.
Discuss the Details of the Safety Plan
Discuss the location of the Safety Plan, who to share it with, the likelihood of its use and potential barriers.
Conduct a Follow-up Review
of the Safety Plan to determine if it was helpful and needs revision.

*Steps to the Stanley-Brown Safety Plan

Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
Step 4
Step 5
Step 6
Step 7
Recognize warning signs of an impending suicidal crisis.
One of the most effective ways of averting a suicidal crisis is to address the problem before it fully emerges. These warning signs include personal situations, thoughts, moods, or behaviors and serve as a reminder to retrieve and follow the Safety Plan.
Employ internal coping strategies.
In this step, patients are asked to identify what they can do, without the assistance of another person, should they become suicidal again. Such activities function as a way for patients to distract themselves from the crisis and allow time for the suicidal thoughts to subside.
Utilize social contacts as a means of distraction from suicidal thoughts.
Patients can utilize socialization strategies of two types: socializing with other people in their natural social environment or healthy social settings that may help to distract themselves from their suicidal thoughts.
Contact family members or friends who may help to resolve the crisis.
This step is distinguished from the previous one in that patients explicitly reveal to others that they are in crisis and need support and assistance in coping with the crisis.
Contact mental health professionals or agencies.
Patients are instructed to contact a professional or agency who are trained to provide or get help during a suicidal crisis.
Make the environment safer by reducing the potential use of lethal means.
Even if no specific plan is identified by patients, a key component of the Safety Plan Intervention involves eliminating or limiting access to any potential lethal means in the environment to allow time to pass so that the suicide risk subsides.
Identify reasons for living

Learn step by step:

Take Our Latest Course On Implementing the Suicide safety Plan intervention

ABOUT the developers

Barbara Stanley, PhD

Dr.‌ ‌Stanley‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌Professor‌ ‌of‌ ‌Medical‌ ‌Psychology‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌Department‌ ‌of‌ Psychiatry‌ ‌at‌ ‌Columbia‌ ‌University‌ ‌and‌ ‌Director‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Suicide‌ ‌Prevention‌ ‌Training,‌ ‌Implementation‌ ‌and‌ ‌Evaluation‌ ‌(SP-TIE)‌ ‌program‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌Center‌ ‌for‌ ‌Practice‌ ‌Innovations‌ ‌at‌ ‌New‌ ‌York‌ ‌State‌ ‌Psychiatric‌ ‌Institute.‌ ‌She‌ ‌is‌ ‌also‌ ‌a‌ ‌Research‌ ‌Scientist‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌Division‌ ‌of‌ ‌Molecular‌ ‌Imaging‌ ‌and‌ ‌Neuropathology‌ ‌at‌ ‌New‌ ‌York‌ ‌State‌ ‌Psychiatric‌ ‌Institute.‌
ABOUT the developers

Gregory Brown, PhD

Dr. Gregory K. Brown is a Research Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania and the Director of the Penn Center for the Prevention of Suicide. He is also a Research Psychologist at the Corporal Michael J Crescenz VA Medical Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


What People say



“[It] gave me the opportunity to more clearly define signs, when my mood is beginning to deteriorate, and when to start taking steps to prevent further worsening…”



“I was having problems with suicidal thoughts. This was a way to help me deal with the crisis and not let it overwhelm me. Having a way to handle it.”



“I think it is something they should always have and keep. It is something they should get for others in my situation…”



“I would definitely recommend doing safety planning… I would tell them that it saved my life…”

if you're struggling, help is available.
call the national suicide Prevention lifeline:


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